Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter 2012 Holiday Bundles: Hordes

Much like the Warmachine Bundles offered by Privateer Press for the holidays, today I will look at the Hordes holiday bundles and rank them on the same criteria (Power Level and Longevity).  It's taken me a while to fully evaluate these lists and there are some very interesting differences between the Hordes bundles from the Warmachine ones.  Notably, the Warmachine bundles included the plastic battlegroup box (and so you would normally get a second warcaster to play).  These bundles do not include the plastic battlegroup box (except for Skorne, for some reason) and, in the case of these bundles, that is actually more of an advantage since the rest of the bundle isn't limited by warbeast choices.  Also, the Hordes bundles include a full-sized rulebook instead of the pocket sized one - probably since there's no battlegroup warcaster and they wanted to offer a fair deal.  What's also different with these bundles is that there isn't even a Trollbloods holiday bundle, which is very curious.  Instead, there are two Minion bundles - a great boon for anyone interested in starting the Thornfall Alliance or Blackwater Congregation.  It's great the Privateer Press created separate bundles for what is, essentially, two separate factions.  Well, let's jump into it!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Winter 2012 Holiday Bundles: Warmachine

As you may already know, Privateer Press has put out some 25-point holiday bundles for purchase on their online store.  They've been doing this with increased frequency the past couple of years and this time it's good to see that these bundles include warcasters outside of the normal battlegroup boxes (kinda).
It's cute that they're including metal ornaments with the bundles, but I'm sure most people will be glad to have a good starting point for adding another faction.  Also, each bundle includes a mini-copy of the rulebook (40k fans have been calling for this for their game for literally a decade) and the tokens for the faction.  On top of the discount for the models themselves, this is a pretty nice chunk of stuff to receive for free, so keep that in mind with my value rankings.  I will include the tokens in the discount calculation, but there's currently no $-value attached to the mini-rulebook so keep that in mind.  Also, it's worth considering that with the exception of the Retribution and Mercenary sets, each of the deals includes the battlegroup box for the faction, meaning that you do get 2 warcasters out of the deal so you have some options.

Like I've done in the past, I will be reviewing these boxes for their monetary value, power level on the table, and longevity (how good it is for building a force in the future) and instead of giving an objective score, I will instead give them rankings relative to each other.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Editorial: the Karma Deck

A couple of weeks back I was having a conversation with a long-time friend about 40k.  We often will discuss Warhammer 40k and, despite me rarely playing the game anymore, he appreciates my insight on various topics.  For now, I still keep up-to-date on the goings-on of 40k.  I think of 40k like an ex-girlfriend: we broke up a while ago and while I will never return to her, I do admit that I like to know what she's doing and how her life has changed.

During the course of my discussion with my friend about 40k, I had an idea come upon me.  We were discussing how dice can throw everything and it can be really frustrating when the dice are supposed to come back to help you, but sometimes never do.  It's a poor consolation that the dice should have rolled average over the course of a game but don't.  I came up with an idea that might maintain a level of randomness that is necessary for a game but with a greater degree of predictability and with proper probabilities that dice don't really offer.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Miss Warmachine/Hordes Pageant

Okay, so my last poll ended a billion years ago and I've been far busier this year with helping the fiancee plan the wedding (although she's definitely doing most of the work).  As a little aside, feel free to check out her wedding blog over there on the top right of the page!  We're doing a Steampunk wedding and while it's going to be awesome, there's been a lot of work crafting the stuff we need - as if weddings aren't crazy enough to plan as it is.  I digress.

After the results of the last poll (see below) we now have your votes for the sexiest female warlocks and it's time for the ultimate showdown: The Miss Warmachine/Hordes Pageant!  Indeed, make sure to cast your vote for who you believe should win the title of Miss Warmachine/Hordes!  These finalists have been taken from our previous polls but this time you should also weigh their accomplishments, background, and tabletop performance in addition to their sexiness.  By the end of the year we will have our Miss Warmachine/Hordes herself!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Mercenaries? In a Tournament? With Character Restriction!?

My post earlier this week on Gorten got me to realize that I've always wondered how my Fiona list would do in a tournament setting.  She's a fun warcaster and she brings some interesting tricks to the table that most people wouldn't be used to seeing all in one package.  I like the list I have for her but there are a lot of specific synergies and I worry that any other 'competitive' Mercenary build would miss out on some of the elements I include in her list - most notably characters that I'd like to take with Broadsides Bart.  Bart was never really a strong list for me anyway, and seeing as they're really the only two mercenary warcasters I owned, I didn't give tournament dreams much of a thought (Fiona is too time-consuming for Hardcore).  Now, with Gorten, I can build two lists that I like but without the usual concerns about character restriction which will undoubtedly be in SR2013.  So let's say I'm going to attend a SR2013 tournament, at 35 points.  What lists would I actually bring?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Project: Gorten Grundback

I have a problem.  Whenever I start a new faction I tell myself that I'll "only" play a particular warcaster/warlock... then maybe just a couple... then I end up owning most of the faction.  This happened with Cygnar, this happened with Circle, and now it's happening with Mercenaries.  Please, can someone take my Legion off of my hands so I don't get tempted to do it again?  I originally just got my Mercenaries to play with the pirates, in particular: Broadsides Bart.  It's a fun list but I just never really got it to a point where I was really happy with it, you know?  Then I expanded a bit and decided to try Fiona the Black.  She's an underdog and faces a lot of criticism, so I decided to try her out to prove people wrong.  After a lot of tweaking and playtesting, I've found a good list for her that I like.  Now, after some list building with a fan of the blog, I broke down and decided to try out Gorten Grundback.  Before you get all excited about Rhulic dwarves, I'm sadly not going to be playing with the Searforge Commission (yet), but rather sticking with the Highborn Covenant.  It makes sense, after all, since I play Fiona with the same contract and I already own lots of Cygnar models, so I might as well, right?  Well here's the list that I've put together:

Highborn Covenant 35 points
Gorten Grundback (+7)
- Basher (7)
Alexia and Risen (5)
Forge Guard (full, 8)
Gun Mages (6)
- Officer (2)
  - Mule (8)
Rhupert (2)
Ragman (2)
Gorman (2)

Not a lot of moving parts in this list but I like it.  I'll need to play around with it to decide what I want to tweak, but so far I really like it.  This list brings a bunch of bodies onto the field and some cleverly disguised hard-hitting.  My favorite part, though, is the shooting potential of the list.  While the meta is changing, shooting is still very effective if you have the right tools.  While Gorten doesn't inherently offer much synergy to shooting armies, I think this list will take advantage of what Gorten does have to offer rather well.

The first thing to note is the number of bodies hitting the field.  Forge Guard are some great high-ARM troops which pack a serious punch but can die easily to weapon masters or charging infantry.  Having a nice and squishy screen of risen in front of them, however, will mean that my opponent will have a hard time getting to the forge guard, allowing me to deliver their counter-punch most effectively.  Even if my opponent does kill some forge guard, they'll just add to Alexia's number of risen, so it's a great cycle of annoyance.  Rhupert, of course, is there to give out Pathfinder as needed, but also to make the risen Tough, which can take a normally annoying unit to hilarious levels of being annoying.  Even if my opponent wants to remove Alexia directly, the Tough rolls on the risen can be used on her "transfers" so she'll be even more difficult to remove.

Behind the forge guard and taking advantage of their Ranked Attacks, the Gun Mages and their Mule will be about to reach out and shoot the crap out of enemy models as they get close.  Sure, the risen can still get in the way, but if I'm really worried about it, I'll gladly trade a risen to a free strike if it means killing enemy infantry.  The Mule will be able to do some serious damage while he's marshalled by the Gun Mages and it helps take the focus load off of Gorten who has only 5 at the best of times to use.  The Mule can do all kinds of fun shenanigans and, again, I'm not afraid to shoot my own risen in the back (they'll be DEF 12 even if engaged! hahaha!) if it means clearing out a charge lane.

Toss in Ragman and Gorman for some improved damage, and we have ourselves a party!  Gorman will be sitting fairly safe behind all of the risen and can naturally Black Oil those pesky Colossals/Gargantuans or Rust Bomb a warjack if I'm worried about it.  Ragman, of course, will turn those risen into a slightly greater threat (especially if I'm shooting them while they're engaged) and he turns the forge guard into serious damage potential.  If I can tag a warjack with a Rust Bomb and get Ragman in range with his Death Field, even a Khador heavy at ARM 20 will crumble to merely 4 charging forge guard! 

So what does Gorten bring to this party, anyway?  I think I can sum it up with two things: his feat and Solid Ground.  Gorten has an amazing feat that is well known for it's tournament winning potential.  While he has a small control area, the rest of this list and his naturally high armor mean that he'll be quite comfortable sitting pretty close to the front lines anyway.  His feat not only pushes models back up to 8", but it also offers a very useful SPD, DEF, and RAT debuff (although the RAT debuff is rarely important).  This means that even if my opponent decides to just run in and engage my models, I can simply pop feat and push them all back while my ranged attacks shoot them down.  The DEF debuff means they'll be much easier to hit and even if they try to come at me again, the SPD debuff will make it difficult for them to even run to get close again.  In essence, Gorten does support a ranged force by allowing them the opportunity to get basically 2 extra shooting 'phases'.

The second (arguably most important) piece of support Gorten offers is his spell Solid Ground.  Don't get me wrong, Rock Wall is pretty awesome too, but for such a low-FOC 'caster, Solid Ground will provide more benefits for upkeeping it (I'd even be willing to pay the double focus to upkeep it if someone makes me do that).  The spell offers two important benefits for this list: no blast damage and friendly models can't be knocked down.  Those are huge benefits!  Sure, small control area again, but keeping everyone standing is great for Tough, thanks to Rhupert as well as keeping Gorten alive longer since DEF 13 is hardly unimpressive as it is.  I think the immunity to blast damage is probably the most important, however.  With the exception of the forge guard, the rest of the warrior models in this list are fairly low in ARM values and are very susceptible to blast damage.  Gun Mages are only ARM 11 so even some of the weakest blast weapons are able to clear them out with ease.  Suddenly with Solid Ground, not only does the opponent have to get through a wall of forge guard, but they can't even hope that blast damage will remove some of those gun mages.

Just thinking about all of this makes me giddy and eager to try this list out!  I've also noted that there are no FA:C models in this list that I'd want to use with my Fiona list.  Could this mean that I have some tournament potential here???  We shall see!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Steamroller Prep: Escalation Tournament

So there's an Escalation Tournament on December 9th at The Battle Standard in Manchester, CT that sounds really interesting.  Unfortunately, I'm on duty that weekend so I will be unable to attend *shakes fist* but in case I can get someone to switch duty weekends with me, I still would like to prepare for it.  What will be interesting about the tournament is that there will be 4 rounds and the points values for each round increase, so you'll play at 15 points the first round, then 25, then 35, and lastly you'll play at 50 points.  Where it gets most challenging, however, is that you must keep building on your previous list.  In other words, the models in the 15 point list must be present in your 25 point list and so on.  The other major challenge is that your 15 point list is warjack/warbeast only (although you can be 3 points down).  That's where things get tricky because it means infantry warcasters will have a tougher time first round, and so the event as a whole will likely favor warjack/warbeast-heavy lists.  So what would I be bringing?  Well I first had to start with looking at viable 15 point lists, since those elements will carry forth into the later rounds.  Here's what I considered:

Friday, November 16, 2012

List Building Advice: Fiona

I recently received another request for some list building advice on the facebook page, this time regarding Fiona the Black.  I love Fiona and if she didn't require such specific synergies and characters, I would bring her to more tournaments.  I always have fun with her when I play her but she's missing something to make her more of a tournament-viable warcaster.  That said, I was eager to provide some advice on building a list with her since I've spent many hours playing her and building lists for her.  While I'm satisfied with the list that I play with her, it's nice to design a list for someone else.  In addition, this particular person wanted me to work within the models in their collection, which I'm always happy to do.  Here was the message:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

35 point Fall Steamroller Results

Sunday I played my first tournament in well over 2 months and it felt great!  While I was definitely pretty rusty, I found myself in my element and on my game, for the most part.  There was a little issue in the last game because me and my opponent were pretty tired and forgot that scoring for Incursion meant scoring each turn instead of round, but we were able to retroactively determine that I did, in fact, win the scenario.  He was a great sport and we had some good laughs afterwards about how tired we were.  So let me share the lists that I finally decided upon and then I'll briefly break down my games.

Monday, November 05, 2012

List Building Advice: Gorten 50 points

Continuing from Friday's post, a fan had messaged me through the Steam-Powered Gamer facebook page asking for some advice with building lists in preparation for Templecon.  My disclaimer is that I admit I'm not some mastermind player but I do enjoy the theory and building lists with particular goals and restrictions in mind.  If anyone wishes for advice on building a list, I'm glad to offer some feedback and I will rarely suggest an alternative warcaster (unless that's a flexible criteria).  I understand that not everyone has lots of money to drop on a brand new list (I'm no exception) and so we enjoy working with the collections we already have.  Fortunately, this particular individual has been investigating lists via Vassal and hasn't purchased anything yet, so there's a lot of flexibility in the list design.  I have to admit, I'm probably the most proud of this particular list, even if he ultimately decided to go the full Khador route (although not with the Harkevich list presented on Friday).

Here's the list that he was looking at for Gorten Grundback:
Searforge Commission, 50 points
Gorten: +7
- Driller: 6
- Rockram: 8
- Rockram: 8
- Avalancher: 9
10 forgeguard: 8
6 forgeguard: 5
10 high shields + UA: 11
Thor: 2
My feedback:
As far as the Gorten list goes, I do have to ask if it has to be Searforge? Unfortunately, Searforge is a very limiting contract and I think I could come up with an interesting list if you took a Highborn Covenant list instead. Mercenaries can have VERY different looking lists and the Rhulic 'casters are no exception. Here's the list I've come up with using the Highborn Covenant:
Gorten (+7)
- Basher (7)
Gun Mages (6)
- Officer (2)
- Mule (8)
Hammerfall High Shields (full, 8)
- Officer and Standard (3)
Master Gunner Dougal Macnaile (2)
Thor (2)
- Rockram (8)
Rhupert (2)
Rorsh and Brine (9)
The problem with Gorten is that he has so little focus so you basically just have to rely on getting him far upfield to make the most of his feat - and that means making sure he camps as much focus as possible so you can keep him alive. Rock Wall and Solid Ground help keep him alive and are really fantastic for units like Gun Mages since they're so vulnerable to blast damage. I like the Highborn list the best because it's such an awesome shooting list (I'm biased about shooting, despite what the meta says).  The High Shields can trod upfield while in shield wall shooting stuff while the gun mages sit behind them taking advantage of Ranked Attacks, safe from reprisal!  The Gun Mages will have a marshalled Mule to stick with the ranged theme without putting more of a focus drain on Gorten. Even if your opponent gets close enough to disrupt your shooting abilities, you pop feat, push everything back and slap them with a DEF penalty so you can shoot them even more reliably and the SPD penalty will prevent them from simply charging at you next turn.  You effectively can have multiple rounds of shooting and mitigate one of the biggest weaknesses to shooting in Warmachine/Hordes. 
The Mule can also push stuff around if it scores a Crit but also sports a wonderful POW 15 and an AOE 4 and the Basher will have fun slamming things around and exploding all over their face while the rest of your troops laugh at blast damage (thanks to Solid Ground). Brine is also around for some heavy hitting without an increased focus load on Gorten and he's a slamming machine. Him and Rorsh offer great support on a flank since they're so fast and Rorsch can feel comfortable chucking dynamite or using diversionary tactics near the rest of your troops since, again, Solid Ground will protect them from blast damage.  In essence, you can take full advantage of fantastic blast weaponry to deal with targets both near and far without fear - and that's huge for a shooting list.

Rhupert is around for giving Tough to the high shields - making them even more annoying to deal with (especially with Solid Ground keeping them standing) and as if you need more shooting support, Dougal can pop his mini feat early to give +2 RNG to all ranged attacks and he will consistently throw Artillerist on the Mule to make it hit even more reliably (at least until he wants to shoot stuff with his quad iron or chuck some grenades).  Lastly, we have to include Thor because he's an awesome 'jack marshall and since he can marshall Rhulic 'jacks, we should give him the Rockram to take the most advantage of his and its capabilities.  The Rockram is solid and will be capable of providing solid shooting support with the rest of the army, but can also hit hard in melee if it needs to - again, without requiring any focus from Gorten.  And even if you're worried about a 'jack marshall dying, the High Shields officer is around to pick up the slack if needed.
What you get is a list that literally pushes around your opponent all across the board and is incredibly resilient. It's a solid tournament list, in my opinion, but it would need some practice.  Fortunately, however, there aren't a lot of complex synergies that require specific activation orders, so that should make using the list fairly straight forward to use.  You just have to make sure to upkeep Solid Ground and maybe throw out Rock Wall where/when you need it, but otherwise you should have a fairly easy time using the list.  Rorsh and Brine take some getting used to, but they provide a fast moving element to the list that can protect a flank from getting overrun and keeping your backfield safe.

In fact, if I didn't have to spend so much money buying so much of the list, I'd probably try playing it myself!  Maybe if they release a plastic Rhulic 'jack kit...

Friday, November 02, 2012

List Building Advice: Harkevich 50 points

I understand that I'm not the best player out there for Warmachine/Hordes but I do love building lists and working on theory.  Recently a follower of the blog asked me for some feedback on a couple of lists and I was more than happy to oblige!  Today I'll look at the first of the lists presented and give some feedback.  I'll share the other list next week.

If anyone wants some feedback on lists just feel free to head over to the Steam-Powered Gamer facebook page and send me a message and I'll be glad to take a look at it.  Since most of us have our own limitations on building lists, I do take into consideration issues like the size of a collection or the amount of money you can spend on tweaking a list, so don't be afraid to ask for advice.  Also, I have one hard and fast rule and that is that I will not tell you which warcaster/warlock to play (unless that's the feedback you want).  I think it's rude when someone says "well your first mistake is that you're not playing X warcaster/warlock."  We all have our reasons for choosing particular models to play and I like giving feedback that meets your own criteria.  If you want to make a particular model work, I'm glad to toss around ideas with you to see what we can do!

Without further ado, I'll share the original list that requested feedback and then I'll share my feedback for Harkevich.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Road to Templecon 2013: List Building Part 2

Like I said on Monday, now that the Templecon Team Tournament has been confirmed as 50 points, 2 lists, and Divide and Conquer, I have some decisions to make.  I already looked at using pBaldur vs. eBaldur and I'm genuinely torn between the two and will need to playtest the lists thoroughly.  Today, however, I want to look at my other two options to pair up with whichever Baldur I want to take.  Fortunately, the 50 point level means that I have more options to play around with and I'm more motivated to use warlocks that I have a hard time justifying at 35 points.  So which lists am I considering?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Road to Templecon 2013: List Building

 So we have confirmation that the Team Tournament at Templecon will be 2 lists, 50 points, and Divide and Conquer.  Damn.  This is also a bit strange to have such a decision already made without the SR 2013 document available yet, at least as far as I know...  Either way, this is a little disappointing for me because it severely limits my options.  One of the reasons why I was hoping for a 3 list format is it means that you'd be less likely to see the same tournament lists over and over again because players could experiment a bit more and worry less about bad match-ups.  Indeed, I can almost guarantee that every Cryx player will bring Terminus, Cygnar players will bring eHaley, etc.  *Sigh*  Well, let's consider what I'll be bringing.  At least the field will still look a bit different with the addition of colossals/gargantuans and there are a few new warcasters on the field these days, so maybe there will be some variety.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The "Counter-Punch" playstyle

This article was inspired by a couple of comments exchanged with someone on a Bell of Lost Souls review of the Woldwrath.  I thought that the review was pretty solid (although without much play experience) and I generally like the Warmachine/Hordes writers for BoLS.  In the comments I mentioned my experiences with the Woldwrath for some additional feedback and I had an interesting exchange there discussing Circle's playstyle.  In fact, I've had similar thoughts from reading Lamoron's articles on his experiences with Circle over on his blog.  I've always been interested in Circle and they're my first faction since Mk. II (although it might have been Cygnar if they had released the Firefly model sooner for that eNemo theme list).  I'm not going to suppose that I'm an expert on the faction or that others are incompetent, but the purpose of this article is to try to explain the playstyle of the Circle Orboros and why many find the faction to be so challenging outside of just a handful of warlocks.  I believe the best way to describe this playstyle is something called "Counter-Punch".

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

List Building: pKaya 35 - Griffon

It's been a long time since I've done some list building.  Perhaps it's been because I've been extremely busy.  More likely, it's because I don't have many opportunities to play games as it is and so I don't play around designing lists when I won't be able to test them.  Today I want to share a list I came up with that I want to try with pKaya.  I've always been an outspoken supporter of pKaya (and indeed, a lot of under-appreciated warlocks) and I think the recent release of the Griffon will allow a lot of flexibility for pKaya.  Admittedly, with the recent errata ruling that medium bases cannot use their full range of power attacks against larger bases (throws, locks), the Griffon will have more limited usage in many lists, but I still think he's useful for an assassination tool - especially with pKaya.  Let me share the list and then I'll break it down.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Recent Games and Reflections

September is the craziest time of year for me.  Coming out of the hibernation period that is the summer and being dropped right into a full boarding school teachers schedule is a bit intense.  Now I remember why I didn't start The Steam-Powered Gamer until October (OMG ALMOST A YEAR OLD!) - I was far too busy in September to do it.  Things are starting to calm down here a bit now 0 well, actually, I think I'm just getting into my groove.  Anyway, I have still been trying to be productive when it comes to Warmahordes stuff and I've managed to get a couple of games in at the local club.  Now that school is back in session some of the regulars have been coming back to the game club so I can at least get a game of Warmahordes in on Friday nights (typically).  That said, 2 games in the month of September is still not that great, but let me outline quickly how those games went.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's next for Privateer Press?

So there has been something brewing over at Privateer Press within the last week or so.  It started with David "DC" Carl mentioning in a Privateer Press Insider post that he wishes he could share what's going on behind the scenes and then on Monday, Tony Konichek shared his trip to Europe where he received the request from the creative and art directors to draw some sketches of the architecture for "Iron Kingdoms reference."  Surely, this could be considered totally innocuous but Privateer Press loves teasing their community and, like I said, DC has already told us that something is going on behind the scenes and Privateer Press has never been known for sitting on their hands.  No, indeed this past year not only did they outdo their past years by releasing Colossals and Gargantuans, but they also put own a card game, a brand new board game (with new IP), created their first mobile list-building and reference app (with admittedly mixed reviews), and revived their Iron Kingdoms role-playing system (with much approval from the role-playing community).  This has me wondering: What's next for Privateer Press?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Women in Miniatures Games

It's been almost a month since I last posted an article but I've been spurned into action by a recent article on Bell of Lost Souls about women in wargaming.  More specifically, I've been inspired to write this article because of the comments section for that article.  I've simultaneously been encouraged and saddened by the responses to the article, which only asserted that Warmachine/Hordes has a greater percentage of their demographic as women than other miniatures games.  Actually, I tend to find that Malifaux has more women, but the point that most people at the site took away from the brief question was that Games Workshop games tend to have very few female players.  Larry Vela (the author) asked why that might be, and the responses have been a mix of supportive and highly offensive (not sure if trolling or not).  Interestingly, there was an article written the other day about the same topic in video games only a couple of days ago (link) and the timing cannot be more perfect.  The difference, of course, is that the article I just linked came from a woman's perspective and she answers some common questions posed to women, which I think apply to wargames just as well as they do to video games:
So what should a proper female lead look like? Where do you draw the line between “attractive” and “cheap pandering cheesecake”? Which female leads resonate with women? Which ones repel them? Is it better to have a variable gender protagonist like in Fable II where you can choose a gender that basically doesn’t matter, or is it better to have a protagonist with a specifically crafted character? What genres of action-type badassery are most attractive to females, and would make a good starting point for a developer looking to court a female audience?
These are all great questions and I'd like to discuss a brief look into two games and address the question of why we don't see as many women playing miniatures games, and those that do seem to play particular game systems over others.

Monday, October 08, 2012

New Poll: Sexiest [female] Warlock

So I'm still alive!  I've been distracted by a combination of work and Borderlands 2, but I'm still alive.  I've been taking a hiatus of sorts from Warmachine/Hordes for a little while and part of that is because I don't have as many opportunities to play games anymore because summer vacation is over and I'm wayyyy over on mileage for my lease.  My hope is that my fiancee's new car will help take the pressure off of my mileage so I can still play some games, but finances are quite tight with the wedding coming up one year from yesterday (OMGOMGOMG!)

Anyway, today I'll ease back into things by analyzing the last poll which asked which was the sexiest [female] warcaster!  This next month the poll will be the sexiest [female] warlock, so make sure you place your vote up there!  Stay tuned for a special article tomorrow on women in gaming - a topic which has come to the forefront in gaming in the past week or so.  My goal is to return to a full daily schedule of articles but after being away from it for so long, I'm not sure I'll be able to do so.  There's no shortage of topics for me to discuss, but time is the biggest issue.  I digress.  Let's talk about some sexy warcasters!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Editorial: Shifting the Metagame

This article has been on my mind for some time now.  If you have not already seen it, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the concept of 'Imperfect Balance', which is mentioned in the video found here.  This video has been a big topic of conversation in the miniatures gaming community because there is a certain sci-fi miniatures game which is notorious for its balance issues and the very vocal fanbase which complains about it.  Today I want to use this topic as a point of difference between certain miniatures games and the design strategy outlined by this idea of 'Imperfect Balance'.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Team Tournament Prep: 50 points

I've certainly distracted this week from Warmachine/Hordes.  First, I've been distracted due to orientation week for work, with various meetings and classroom prep.  Secondly, I've been getting ramped up for Relic Knights since their Kickstarter has almost ended.  I've been trying to shift gears, though, since even when the Kickstarter ends, product isn't expected until May (yikes!).  Alright, so it's time to start preparing for Templecon in February and start getting into tournament prep and playtesting mode.  I had hoped that this summer I could get lots of practice in with my Cygnar as a potential option, but I've since decided that I should stick with what works: my Circle.  So today I revisit my Circle in preparation for the tournament.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Showcase: The Woldwrath

I know it's been a long time coming, but I finally got pictures snapped for the Woldwrath!  I'm really excited to use this guy but unfortunately school is getting in the way.  I'll be fine for now, but mark my words - I will want to smite someone with his fists in the near future!  While I've already written about how the Mountain King really isn't as bad as people claim, I haven't written much on my opinion of the Woldwrath (that will be coming soon).  I will let you know that I really like the Woldwrath, but its uses will be far more limited than the much-maligned Mountain King.  Even still, I want to try him out because I think he will be fun, even though he won't see much use below 50 point games (except for eBaldur).  Anyway, without further ado, here's my Woldwrath!

Monday, September 03, 2012

New Poll: Sexiest [Female] Warcaster

For this month we're going to try something a little different and light-hearted for a poll.  One of the things I love about Warmachine/Hordes is that women are well-represented in the game, despite it being a wargame.  I think that's totally fair and great that if a girl or woman wants to play the game, she might be able to find a character with whom she can connect.  I also like how most of the females in the game are reasonably dressed/armored... for the most part.  So for the next month we're going to have a little pageant of sorts and ask:
Who do you think is the sexiest [female] warcaster?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


 I told you it'd be coming!  It's been a busy week but I finally got the Woldwrath assembled!  It actually didn't take that long to assemble and was probably a bit easier than the Stormwall, but it took a while for me because I've been busy working on wedding stuff with the fiancee, in between planning out Cygnar lists.  At any rate, he's here now!  The only problem is that his right-thumb is missing (it's in my fiancee's car - long story) so I can't begin the priming/painting process yet like I had wanted to.  Oh well, I can still get him primed tonight and maybe get him basecoated in time to show him off at the Battle Standard tomorrow... we'll see.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I still need a good Cygnar tournament list - Part 2

After Sunday's relatively poor tournament performance I've been pondering what kind of list I should build to make up for my poor performance against Warmachine armies.  My Sloan list has been perfected to deal with Hordes well and now I need to find something to deal with Warmachine, since pStryker and pHaley have let me down.  It's not just losing games with them that has been the problem, but an overall shift in the Warmachine meta, that leaves me needing to change up my list.  Like I said yesterday, it's less common these days to see high-DEF low-ARM models out there since everyone seems to have a solution to them these days.  No, the Warmachine meta has shifted to high-ARM models instead.  Suddenly it seems everyone is bringing infantry with Shield Wall and/or ARM 16+ to counteract all of that lightning out there these days.  Yesterday I shared a pNemo list that I think might be fun to try but today I have another list that I wish to share.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I still need a good Cygnar tournament list - Part 1

Okay so, as expected, yesterday's performance with pHaley was not so great.  Not so surprising, I guess, considering we have the "Andy Rule" on the Regular team after our first NETT appearance where Andy played eThagarosh for the first time and got rolled.  I posted some general results on the Steam-Powered Gamer facebook page.  I wasn't taking this tournament too seriously anyway, so it's not the end of the world that I broke the rule.  Well, it just goes to show that it's a good rule.  I still went 2-2 and my Sloan list continues to make me happy, so now I just need to find a replacement list based on some information I did gather from my 2 games with Haley but also couched with my experiences with pKrueger against Warmachine.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stryker's Replacement

I've been working on assembling the Woldwrath and I plan on painting it within the next week.  For now, I'm focusing on Cygnar again in preparation for this upcoming tournament.  I managed to play a game with pStryker on Thursday and my woes with the warcaster continued.  He's great and all, but I'm not sure I'm playing him as aggressively as I should.  I normally don't do this, but I think I'm going to change up my decision to play with pStryker in the tournament on Sunday.  Like I said, I normally would strongly discourage this, but since I can't seem to align myself with Stryker's playstyle, I instead think that I will replace him with a warcaster that will probably better fit my style naturally.  It might totally backfire on me since I've never played with his replacement before, but I think her playstyle will better match my own and require less of a learning curve than if I continued to play with pStryker.  It's with a heavy heart that I must admit, I'll be playing with pHaley.  I know.  I'm the guy who keeps saying I think she's overrated, but I think in this case, she'll be a good alternative.  Let me explain.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Showcase: Black 13th, Reinholdt, Pendrake

So I've been pretty busy painting the past couple of days because I want to have at least one fully-painted list for the tournament on Sunday.  The challenge, of course, is that I still haven't decided on what I want to take for my reinforcements and so until I decide what I want to bring along, I might as well get the other elements of my list painted up until I finalize my decision.  Today I'll share some photos of what I've accomplished so far.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sloan Tournament List

So I've had the opportunity to play quite a few games with Sloan at this point and I finally got a model for Viktor Pendrake and am very pleased with his addition to the list.  Indeed, since I intend this list to be used regularly against Hordes opponents, his usage specifically against warbeasts is hardly a limitation.  As such, I feel very confident with the list that I have developed for 35 point tournaments... for the most part.  I am fairly comfortable with the list and I have already begun painting the models that needed to be finished so that I can compete with it this weekend, if I can make it to The Battle Standard's tournament.  I'll quickly share my finalized list and expand on some of my rationales for the choices made and at the end I'll share my only apprehension for the list: reinforcements.  Let's start with the list:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gencon Masters Results

Menoth isn't a good tournament army?  The Mountain King
is overpriced and terrible?
Today's post will be pretty quick.  For those unaware, something like 8 of of the 16 players in the Masters tournament were apparently Menoth players - a surprising demographic considering that about the same ratio of Cryx was present at the Templecon Masters.  Perhaps Privateer Press is better at crafting a well-balanced game than some give them credit.  What was perhaps more surprising to many, however, was that Trolls had a great showing, with Flanzer getting defeated in the last round with his Trolls.  What was most surprising, however, was that one of the lists contained the Mountain King.  That's right, a list featuring pDoomshaper also sported the Mountain King - despite all of the cries of its uselessness by Trollblood players.  Granted, the Gencon Masters tournament this year was a 75 point event, but I still derive some amusement that such a "terrible" Gargantuan was not only present at Gencon in the tournaments, not only was it in the Masters, but its general almost achieved first place!  Now there are two things that I'd like to point out as a result of these tournament results.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Surprise! Also Templecon Prep (yes, already)

So a couple of good friends are going to GenCon this weekend (jealous) but guess what they've graciously agreed to do for me?  Getting me a Woldwrath!  That's assuming, of course, that they'll be able to snag one before they sell out, but I'm really really excited to get my hands on this model - especially before the normal release date.  While I won't be able to use him in tournaments, I'll be eager to get him painted up in the style of the rest of my constructs and get him onto the tabletop soon so I can start playtesting him in preparation for Templecon this year.  Oh yeah, it's only 6 months away and I want to see if it's worth taking the giant rock-ape!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thinking Cap: Farrow

I've been going to The Battle Standard in Manchester CT for a couple weeks now and I've had some great conversations with the guys there.  One of the topics that has come up is Dr. Arkadius - one of my favorite warlocks.  Unfortunately, the good doctor has some serious drawbacks and problems and I've discussed them before, notably what he needs to compete with Carver.  Any competitive player will see that Arkadius - and the Farrow in general - have some challenges that need to be overcome in order for them to be successful in a tournament setting.  I've already discussed in the past what Dr. Arkadius needs to make himself a little more competitive, but today I want to look at some ways of giving an edge while still keeping them unique on the scene.  First, we need to discuss what makes Farrow interesting and different from other factions.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Woldwrath preliminary thoughts

The stats for the Woldwrath were spoiled on the forums a few weeks before the No Quarter issue was officially released.  Some individuals had their own copies in advance for some reason, so I've had some time to reflect and collect my thoughts on the highly anticipated Circle Gargantuan.  While some mock the appearance of the Woldwrath (notably it's massive shoulder blades), it's technically the oldest of the gargantuans since we've had pictures of it from the original Iron Kingdoms RPG, before Warmachine even existed!  I'm eager to purchase my own model and I wish I could justify spending the money right now to have a friend pick it up for me from Gencon.  I've already commented on the viability of Gargantuans, in general, and specifically with the Mountain King, so where does that leave the Woldwrath?  It has some of the same challenges which face the Mountain King but it also has some different ones.  Let's take a closer look.

Monday, August 13, 2012

pStryker and the Stormwall

I've been playing around with the Stormwall for some time now.  While the model is hardly rare on the tabletop anymore, it's most often seen with either of the Haleys, despite having some solid synergies elsewhere.  Frequenters of my blog know that I've had great success with the Stormwall under Sloan and I think I've finally found a comfortable list with her, but I've been searching for a 2nd list to run next to her, and I think I've come back to Commander Stryker, with whom I've had some great success at tournaments so far.  One of the features of the list, of course, is the Stormwall and pStryker has some solid synergy with the Colossal that many will often overlook.  Today I will breakdown why I love the Stormwall so much with the often underrated pStryker.

Monday, August 06, 2012

War Room: A history and review

So I posted on the Steam-Powered Gamer facebook page this morning that I will be going on hiatus this week due to a last-minute move between apartments, but something special happened today that I had to break my hiatus for:
Pretty much everyone in the Warmachine/Hordes community should be aware by now that War Room has officially been released!
There's been a lot of drama swirling around the War Room release and the numerous delays.  Well, the wait is over!... sorta.  Let me provide a brief history for those who might not be aware of what has happened leading up to this historic release and my impressions of playing with the application itself for the past few hours.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

New Poll: Points

It's a new month and that means it's time for a new poll!  Our last poll looked at the perception around Colossals.  With the arrival of the Stormwall the entire meta changed almost overnight and the model has seen a surge in usage in all kinds of competitive events.  The interesting thing, however, is that even with the infamous eHaley + double Stormwall list, we're not really seeing the Stormwall winning major events.  Does it make an impact?  Absolutely.  Does it make a player automatically top-tier?  Absolutely not.  I think this is a great thing and Privateer Press should be recognized for making a model that seems OMG BROKEN!!11! on paper but is not a "win button" when actually played on the table.  I think our last poll reflected the same attitude amongst players and I'll analyze the results more in-depth after I introduce the new poll.

The poll for this month is a little less controversial than some of the past polls:
What size games do you typically play?
10-15 points
25 points
35 points
35-50 points
50 points

75+ points

Note that I included the 35-50 point range because I believe that there are some differently-sized games common in Germany between the 35 and 50 point ranges.

I'm curious to see how popular certain levels are in various metas because I think there can be some model/faction choices that change depending on the size game (I think Gargantuans will be way more viable at 50+ points).  Now let's look at the results from the previous poll.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Pro Tip: Misunderstanding Rules

Even the most skilled and experienced players misunderstand rules sometimes.  While Privateer Press does a great job writing their rules with various specific phrases, sometimes we miss out on certain qualifiers.  I'm no grammar expert and I sometimes misunderstand a rule because I missed one key work or phrase in the description of said rule.  Sometimes as players we get really excited about a certain tactic or possibility that we get "tunnel vision" where we focus on trying to do something so badly that we forget one word that actually means we can't do what we want.  Similarly, when playing against other players we can make the mistake of not seeing that same key word and it suddenly means the difference between safety and assassination.  Today I want to share some words that are often mistaken or accidentally ignored that you should look for carefully.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thinking Cap: Feralgeist

I've been working on a secret project for the last couple of days so I've been having a tough time coming up with suitable articles.  My secret project has also distracted me from finishing the Prezi Battle Report for my recent battle using Mohsar against Zaal (it's coming!  I promise!) so what am I going to write about today?  Well I've given some thought to my recent article defending the Mountain King and I made a stunning realization the other day.  While I admit I made some errors in my initial report on the Mountain King (he's DEF 9 instead of 10), I did forget about a key solo that could make the Mountain King a bit more frightening.  I want to talk about the lowly Feralgeist.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Editorial: "In a Vacuum" Part 2

Like I mentioned last week, Warmachine/Hordes is a complex game because there are 11 factions, over 100 warcasters/warlocks, and an even wider selection of warjacks, warbeasts, units, and solos.  There are a LOT of moving parts to this game we play and while there are some consistencies like spells between multiple warcasters/warlocks, every faction (let alone warcaster/warlock) has a different playstyle and to look at any one model and say "wow, that's broken" is so silly to say that it borders on bigotry.  To look at something and make assumptions on it based on your initial impressions is a common practice in humanity but it's our responsibility to try to be open-minded and consider more than just our first impressions.  I liked the way my friend put it: "You can't consider the model in a vacuum."  So today I'm going to take a practical approach and briefly look at each Hordes faction and some common models/abilities/spells that need to be considered whenever you're looking at something new and different before you pass judgement.  While this list is no where near comprehensive, I hope it will help people keep an open mind and consider all the possibilities before they decide something is "stupid" or "broken."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Editorial: "In a Vacuum" Part 1

Last night I managed to get a game in against a Skorne player Todd (a great guy!) with my Mohsar list.  I took some pictures and I'll be creating another Prezi battle report for next week.  It takes some time to do properly so I couldn't really get it ready for today, but I will say that I enjoyed playing my Mohsar list, although I clearly need much more practice with it.

Today I want to write about a comment that I friend made on my article, In Defense of the Mountain King.  Warmachine/Hordes is a complex game because there are 11 factions, over 100 warcasters/warlocks, and an even wider selection of warjacks, warbeasts, units, and solos.  There are a LOT of moving parts to this game we play and while there are some consistencies like spells between multiple warcasters/warlocks, every faction (let alone warcaster/warlock) has a different playstyle and to look at any one model and say "wow, that's broken" is so silly to say that it borders on bigotry.  To look at something and make assumptions on it based on your initial impressions is a common practice in humanity but it's our responsibility to try to be open-minded and consider more than just our first impressions.  I liked the way my friend put it: "You can't consider the model in a vacuum."  So today I'm going to take a practical approach and briefly look at each warmachine faction (Hordes will be on Monday) and some common models/abilities/spells that need to be considered whenever you're looking at something new and different before you pass judgement.  While this list is no where near comprehensive, I hope it will help people keep an open mind and consider all the possibilities before they decide something is "stupid" or "broken."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Steamroller Prep: 35 points

There's a 35 point Steamroller this Saturday at Pandemonium in Cambridge, MA.  While I've known about this event for a couple of weeks now, I actually forgot about it until last week when my fiancee reminded me (she's the best!).  We weren't sure if we were going to make it but since she wants to see her best friend in Boston this weekend anyway, I get to play in the tournament!  Hooray!  So today I'm going to look at my two favorite options again to see what I want to bring with me.  I learned some lessons at the NETT and I want to re-evaluate my options.  Naturally, I think I'll bring my Circle to this tournament just because they're my best faction.  I've been trying to give my Cygnar some experience too, but I'm not ready to bring them to a tournament yet.  I might play some games with Cygnar today just for some practice, but I'm 80% sure that I'll bring my Circle.  There are two warlocks that I want to playtest, if possible, before the event on Saturday so hopefully I can get some games in tonight at the Battle Standard.  Who am I considering?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

List Building Advice: eCaine 35 points

The Steam-Powered Gamer received a message last night from a fan asking for some advice:
Hey! Love your blog. I was wondering if I could ask you some questions about list building - I'm just starting out, going to be playing eCaine, and I like both Alexia models. At 35 points, how would you try to build an eCaine list which also contained one of the versions of Alexia?

(If you don't answer specific questions, I totally understand that, but I figured I'd ask.)
Well, fortunately, I'm willing to answer specific questions!  eCaine is a great warcaster to start out with.  He's fairly simple to use while still maintaining some depth and useful options for a variety of situations.  We'll start by looking at what eCaine has at his disposal (starting with his feat) and then I'll share a list that I created.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

List Building: Goats! Er, Satyrs!

Last night I was playing around with some lists, trying to mix things up a bit.  I strive to keep myself fresh with ideas to prevent the game from getting stale and boring.  I commented to a friend last night that one of the things I love about Warmachine/Hordes is that I can totally get by with just two factions (let alone the 4 that I own) because of the variety of builds that can be made within the same faction.  I've played a lot with my Circle but, admittedly, many of my builds are similar and feature the same things.  Last night I decided to play around with some ideas and I came back to an idea I've had for a while: a Satyr list.  Now, I've owned 2 Gnarlhorn Satyr models for some time now and I've just been waiting for a Shadowhorn for what seems like forever, but I finally found one and so I've been tossing around ideas of incorporating him.  I decided to just go all out and build a list with Satyrs, and not a single warpwolf.

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